In eight days the presidency will pass from the hands of President Barack Obama to President-elect Donald Trump, both of whom have spoken to the country at large this week.
Each speech incited reactions from locals who either applauded Obama for his comments on solidarity or criticized Trump for overreacting to the “golden showers” accusations.
In his farewell address Tuesday night, Obama emphasized unity and political cooperation.
“Democracy does not require uniformity, but democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity,” Obama said. “The idea that for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together, that we rise and fall as one.”
IU senior A’Niyah Birdsong said she has watched every speech delivered by Obama and thought it was sad to think he wouldn’t address the nation as a whole again.
“Seeing our first black president in office for eight years changed a lot about what it means to me to be an African American,” Birdsong said. “Watching that last speech made me recall just how well-spoken of a president we’ve had, too.”
Less than 24 hours later, in his first press conference since the election, President-elect Donald Trump addressed the alleged golden showers incident published by Buzzfeed on Jan. 10 from Trump Tower in New York City.
In the golden showers incident, Trump alledgedly paid to watch prostitutes urinate in a bed the Obamas had slept in during their official trips to Russia.
“I feel like people really responded to Obama’s speech in a positive way and the opposite for Donald Trump’s,” IU junior Cera Cissna said. “That’s been the whole theme of this election year, I think.”
The Buzzfeed article details a 32-page dossier, which claims the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Trump for years.
The dossier is a collection of memos written through a period of a few months and includes unverified allegations of contact between Trump aides and the Russian government.
The dossier also includes the golden showers incident.
Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer said the report is outrageous and highly irresponsible and dismissed it as a “sad and pathetic way to get clicks.”
In light of his upcoming inauguration Jan. 20, Trump tweeted the report is fake news and part of a “political witch hunt.”
This report is the kind of thing that would come out of Nazi Germany, Trump said.
“I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public,” Trump said.
The allegations in the Buzzfeed article were unconfirmed and prompted many to doubt their veracity and whether the issue should have been addressed.
“If that’s been trawling around for months, only Buzzfeed has been reporting it, and it’s completely unsubstantiated, that really doesn’t look good for Buzzfeed,” said Brian Gamache, state chair of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans. “If it isn’t true, then Buzzfeed just shot American journalism in the foot.”
Trump also briefly touched on the subjects of American jobs in car manufacturing, decreasing the price of the new Boeing Air Force One, and recent staff appointments.
“I think there was a stark difference between the demeanors of the president and president-elect in the last two days,” IU College Democrats President Terry Tossman said. “President Obama had a clear, positive message, while Trump seemed all over the place.”
However, for some, news about the president-elect does not have much weight because tweets in the same tone as his recent press conference are being released regularly.
Many students said they did not feel the need to watch the press conference.
“Trump seems to need to respond to every allegation against him,” IU sophomore Pealer Bryniarski said. “It’s a lot of quantity and not enough quality.”
Trump’s inauguration is Jan. 20. In his address Tuesday night, Obama referred to his passing of the torch as a “peaceful transfer of power” and reaffirmed his assistance in Trump’s transition to the White House.